The Form and Tonal Structure of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13, Ii. “Adagio Cantabile”

609 Words Mar 25th, 2013 3 Pages
The Form and Tonal Structure of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, II. “Adagio cantabile”

March 19, 2013

Form and Analysis

Many consider Ludwig Von Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 as his first major musical accomplishment, more commonly known as Sonata Pathetique. Written at the age of 27 in 1798, the young composer had gained instant fame and his work was published only a year later. Beethoven, being one of the first significant musicians to work for them selves, is said to have given it the title. This composition consists of three movements of which we will further examine movement II, Adagio Cantabile. This movement is placed in high contrast with the other two, particularly in tempo.
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The C♭=B♮ and E♭= D♯ and E=F♭, which is ♭^6 of A♭ ultimately acting as the enharmonic pivot into the flattened submediant with a PAC in m. 44 establishing the key of E major. The section carries on with a V-I confirmation of the new tonic until m. 48 where the home key of A♭ is brought back in through the use of secondary dominants and tension that ends the section with a HC at m. 50 and is released with the MT into the final A section. Section A’’ (mm. 51-65) repeats the MT with variation mostly in rhythmic changes leading up to the PAC in A♭ major at m. 66 where the coda (m. 66-73) begins. The coda essentially acts as a tonic expansion with some added 9ths to the dominant as seen in m. 67 and m.69. The piece works the V-I in a decrescendo to the final PAC in A♭ major in m. 73. Out of all of Beethoven’s works, this one arguably stands as one of his most famous. Some say it is because of the heart that was introduced by a musician that was working only for himself, others claim he simply modified Mozart themes. Either way, the form is executed perfectly in a beautiful musical
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